One day after the Paris massacre

I have been thinking all day about this idea, suggested by many people today, that Paris (or for that matter New York) is ‘close to us’. “Us” can be English, Hungarian, Italian or ‘Europeans’ as such (whatever this term is meant to imply nowadays). “Close” is used to refer to either spacial, physical closeness, or it is used in a symbolic way. There is also a hidden assumption, that societies, cultures created by white people, wherever in the world (and at whatever cost), would be essentially the same, and people living there, somehow belonged to each other. (E.g. Australia and France sharing more than Kenya and Ireland). As the victims of 9/11 and the Paris attacks included non-white people, there may be another hidden assumption, that non-white people living in the US or in Europe become almost like white people, their life (when murdered by certain enemies) can be measured in the same way as white people’s lives, as ‘we’ (white people) can feel close to them. (Not sure if the same applies when black people are murdered by white police in their own country, e.g. in the US). The hidden idea is that the 149 students who were murdered on Thursday in Kenya are ‘too far away”, so we can not feel the same for their death as for the death of a similar number of people murdered in Paris, as Paris ‘is close’. Kenya is ‘too far’. Although some of the victims in Paris could have been easily emigrants from Africa, even from Kenya, but because Paris ‘is close’ we mourn their death too. It happened in Europe, so it is ‘shocking’ for Europeans. Death happening elsewhere is ‘too far’ so we don’t mourn (of course with the exception of 9/11). The (perhaps hidden) assumption is, that if murdered people have similar type of life-styles to my own life-style, than I should be able to feel their pain, to mourn their death more easily, then the pain or death of people, who are ‘different’ from myself. I think what we are talking about is our ability to identify with the victims. It is assumed, that me, living in Europe, can naturally identify with the victims in Paris (and in New York), but not with the victims in Kenya, Somalia, Mexico or Pakistan. If I identify with the murdered victim, I imagine myself being the victim: an internal scream may let lose, shouting “it could be me!”. In contrast, if I am unable to identify with the victim, if identification assumed to follow continental, plus ethnic and racial divisions, then I won’t think of myself when I see a picture of a murdered black student in Kenya if I happened to have pink skin colour. The assumption is, that I would unconsciously think, it could NOT be me, so I won’t feel the same shock, bereavement and natural sorrow. In other words, me, living in England, would FEEL SORRY FOR MYSELF when I think about the Paris (or New York) victims, but would not feel sorry for myself when I see the victims in Kenya. I wonder how the Black, Asian, Arab, South American, Roma and mixed population of Europe is expected to fit into this scheme. Certain authorities and people regularly provoke groups of non-white people in Europe to express their ‘loyalty’ through expressing condemnation of the killing of white people. They are often expected to prove they have ‘integrated’ by showing shock and bereavement about the death of white people. If they don’t do it, it is sometimes assumed, that they are somehow guilty of the murder. This is intensified when Muslim people living in Europe are expected ‘to fight terrorism’, ‘fight fundamentalism’, to successfully influence their youngsters not to become jihadists, and to make statements after statements to condemn ISIS. One condemnation is not enough, they are expected to do it each time white people are killed. Otherwise they may be treated as suspects. Of course nothing like this happens when Christians go out to murder a number of kids, or Church-goers or whoever. No Christian Church is expected to condemn these murders which are seen as the product of lunacy, they are not suspected of being guilty by sharing the same religion. Which happens all the time with (against) Muslim people. Going back to my original topic, I would like to say, here, publicly, that if I look deep into myself, which I did today, I have to admit, that sadly, I do feel the joy and pain of those people stronger, who appear more similar to me. I also feel the tragedy of their death stronger too. I can ‘sense’ much more precisely the life of those who look similar to me, who eat, love, dress, work, raise children etc in a way I am familiar with. It is also true, I admit, that their death shocks me more, than the death of people who appear to be very different, whose life and customs and believes and rules I don’t understand. However all my life I challenged this tendency inside myself, even as a child. I had different words to describe it, but in my nursery and school I made an effort to try to get to know those kids who were disliked by the teachers or bullied by other kids. These bullied kids often came from really poor background, sometimes were unable to study, focus etc, and it would have been easy to join in the popular dislike, ridicule them and see them as ‘strange’, as ‘the other’, the one whose pain does not count. The one who helps the rest of the class to unite, to feel expected because we together we hate him or her. Occasionally, I found myself letting down this kid, joining in with the crowd, but I knew I was wrong, and I changed my behaviour. I still remember these incidents when I felt I betrayed that child, I betrayed my own principles. I don’t think I talked about these things those days, and not even as an adult. Today is the first day I can put some of these things in words. As an adult, especially since I moved to England, I have found it easy to ‘identify with’ many people who could superficially be seen as very different from me, whose language and customs I could not understand initially, who follow rules I may not like, who have religious beliefs I don’t share. I often try to look for some similarity, something we have in common, even though we may even dislike each other. I believe, it is my task to see the humanity in those people who may first appear ‘strange’ for me, and to stop automatically identifying with those people who come from my country, or my continent, or have the same pink skin colour as me, or who are also atheist, or share my feminist ideals, my questionable class and social status, my attitude of hating money and authority. I want to be able to feel the joy and pain of anyone in the whole world. The more different they seem to be, the more puzzling their being is, the more important it is for me to find our connection. To connect, to relate. I think the ‘global’ task is not the world-wide exploitation of oil, but the potential ability to see the human in everyone, even in those people who we don’t understand, those people who seem to share nothing with us, and even in those people, who may first consider to be ‘enemy’ – whatever this over-loaded term may or may not mean, today, on the 14th of November, 2015. Good bye, thanks you for reading, comments welcome.

(The photo was taken at Baltimore)

Who is laughing? And who is doing the killing?

On the 3rd of May 2015 the so called ‘American Freedom Defence Initiative’ organised a competition offering $10 000 for the best caricature of Prophet Mohammed. The event took place in the Dallas suburb of Garland, Texas, United States, in a building belonging to a private school, not in New York where the main organiser lives, but in Garland, which is described as the most ethnically mixed town in the country.

Two hundred people turned up to compete and the organiser privately bought in 40 police men in addition to the other security staff provided by the school. We have been informed that two young men turned up with guns and one of them has lightly injured one of the security guards. The two gun-men were killed in no time. Their dead bodies were left on the street for hours while experts were searching for potential bombs. The people participating in the event were moved to another location, and it seems, the competition was completed, as the winner’s name has been published.

The intention to provoke tension and to create violent conflicts between people who could happily live next to each other has many old and new forms. Not for the first time in history, ‘divide and rule’ dominates international and domestic politics in many powerful countries, inc. the USA, UK, Russia, India. It is tragic that many ‘ordinary’ people are willing to be polarised, deciding that another group of ‘ordinary’ people are their enemy. The political and economical elite greatly benefits from these divisions and hatred. They covertly or openly encourage the divisions (while in the West also paying lip-service to ‘equal opportunities’, ‘universal human rights’ etc). They don’t like to dirty their own soft hands with blood, but they encourage, pay or order others to do the dirty work.

Conscription – in times of potential wars  – is a demand on a mass scale to attack and kill those whom your political leaders perceive as their enemy, and to sacrifice your life. Where there is no conscription, manipulation needs to achieve that a large number of people should ‘want’ to kill and die for the interest of their political and economic elite, and their families, friends, schools, Churches are expected to stand behind ‘our heroes’. It is useful if the the fighters personally believe that they are killing for noble causes. On addition serious efforts are made to create a general public perception and consensus that the paid armies are fighting and killing for noble causes.

The people who ‘voluntarily’ join the killing fields (any type of killing fields) are normally poor. They are often in desperate need of money, a job, or a purpose in life, or they may wish to achieve (strangely conceived) ‘self-respect’. They may even have something to revenge for: either in their communal (or ethnic) history, or perhaps the story of their family or personal traumas provide extra motivation. They may be full of frustration and anger created by their own collective or individual life-histories, ready and willing to turn these feelings against any ‘enemy’ named by others, by powerful manipulators. I imagine, all over the world many people join the police, the security firms, the armies or any type of religious military crusade (including the much talked about ‘jihad’) because in these organisations they will be respected and rewarded if they act violently. Many fighting people who believe in this or that religion may be doing the killing in the name of their God, while others refer to ‘patriotism’ – despite the fact that most of the wars nowadays are being fought far away from the soldiers’s and the fighters’ homeland. If I was a soldier I would not like to know that I am simply serving the economical and  political purposes of the economical and political elite. If I was religious, perhaps I would like to think I am fighting for my religion. Or for my country. Or both. Sounds heroic and noble.

Muslim and Christian people have not always fought each other. For the rest of the article I will refer to the Western and US powers as Christian, despite the fact that a large percentage of the population have other religions, and many are atheists. The UK and the US governments still claim the Christian religion as their right, and recently in their so called ‘War on terror’ they have increasingly used religious – and colonial – language. There are many places in the world where Muslim and Christian people (and others following Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist religions and life-styles) were living in peace right next to each other for centuries.

The only time Christians and Muslims are encouraged to hate each other are times when a crusade was/is initiated by political leaders, who often managed to get their religious leaders to work for them too. This happened whenever the rulers of powerful Christian or Muslim countries wanted to dominate the same piece of land, wanted to extend their empires in the same direction. However when they turned in other directions, they managed to ignore each other and they stopped concerning themselves about the rights and wrongs of Christianity or Islam. For example they were not focusing on hating each other when Spain, Portugal and England decided to expend to South and North America. Instead of thinking about Islam they were busy hating the population they found in the Americans whom they named ‘Indians’ and whom they wanted to ‘civilize’ (make them useful for their purposes). Similarly when  the Islamic empires decided to extend towards India, then it must have become more important for them to convert Buddhists and Hindus into Muslims, and they have achieved this to some degree.

Therefore the crash of Islam and Christianity depends on a simple question: do the political leaders of powerful Islamic and Christian countries are fighting for the control of the same part of the world?

The current answer is: YES. They do want to control the same part of the world. The part which is known in the West as the ‘Middle East’.

The above on the left is the original secret Sykes-Picot map of 1916: “A” would go to France, “B” to Britain. And the map on the tight shows the same in a clearer form. The map below shows the extent of military power physically present in the Middle East, now.

US bases in the Middle East

It has a long history, but where are we now? In Texas in May 2015 a few (perhaps) naive and potentially dangerous ‘ordinary’ people decide to organise a ‘caricature competition’ to help this nasty fight. Some of the participants may believe it is really about ‘freedom of speech’, while others may have turned up desperate for the $10 000 top price, but it is clear that this event was organised to provoke. They invited a Dutch politician known about his racist views as the ‘Guest of Honour’.  He is not naive and not ‘ordinary’. He is part of the power elite, his party is the 4th most popular in the Netherlands. Then two (perhaps) naive and dangerous ‘ordinary’ young men jump like puppets, rushing there with the intention to kill some of the participants. In the name of  their ‘God’. At least this is what we were told by the media – they did not speak. Then a few (perhaps) naive and potentially dangerous ‘ordinary’ people, who are paid security guards or private police, immediately kill those who seemed to want to kill the competitors. Who benefits? Who is laughing?

Pamela Geller, the organiser of this event must have expected an attack as she herself paid 40 private police officers to guard the building, it costs her $10 000 according to The Guardian. She said she paid because this is “the high cost of freedom”.

The Guest of Honour “Wilders has campaigned to stop what he views as the “Islamisation of the Netherlands”. He compares the Quran with Mein Kampf and has campaigned to have the book banned in the Netherlands. He advocates ending immigration from Muslim countries, and supports banning the construction of new mosques.” (Wikipedia)

And who is Pamela Geller, the American woman who organised this event? According to The Guardian she is the co-founder of the ‘American Freedom Defence Initiative’ which is behind the contest to award $10,000 for the best cartoon depiction of Mohammed. She is a New Yorker who writes a blog called ‘Atlas Shrugs’ that campaigns to stop the “Islamisation” of America. Pamela Geller used to be a housewife not interested in politics until 9.11 when she turned. After the shooting yesterday she used her blog ‘Atlas Shrugs’ to declare: “This is a war. This is war on free speech. What are we going to do? Are we going to surrender to these monsters?”

BBC World Service broadcasted a short interview with the Mayor of Garland. He explained that the event has nothing to do with the town. They did not ask his permission, in fact it was authorised by a private Education Authority which provided the venue. He made it clear he was not happy about this competition. He said his city is the most ethnically diverse city in the States, and the neighbourhood which is the most ethnically diverse neighbourhood. So why they picked this one?

In January 2015 a large conference was organised in Garland by the local Muslim Community, to plan how they should stand up AGAINST Islamic fundamentalism. While the conference was taking place thousands of white people were protesting against them. One of the placards said: “Muslims, go home! And take Obama with you!” Here it is:

Garland, US Anti-Muslim Demo Jan 2015